The Truth Behind Whole Foods’ Appeal

Credit: Creative Commons

We all love shopping at Whole Foods, don’t we? The prices may be high (a myth I am about to debunk), but the interior is shiny, alluring, and has samples.

As a brand, Whole Foods has a reputation for clean, fresh food, especially if you have a special diet regimen such as vegan or gluten-free. It’s also well-known for its emphasis on employee healthcare. The Whole Foods healthcare plan encourages workers to work out and stop smoking in order to pay less for health care.

But, back to the point. How does Whole Foods remain so appealing to its shoppers? An article in BusinessWeek breaks it down for us (with fun cartoons!).

The highlights:

  • Whole Foods used to be overpriced, it says—living up to popular perception—but the recession forced it to slash prices.
    (The question remains as to whether Whole Foods needs to promote its brand as cheaper now. Will a post-recession advertising campaign talk about its lower prices? Or will doing so draw attention to the fact that its prices were high in the first place?)
  • Employees are encouraged to do things for customers, such as cut melons in half for the to purchase or open boxes of food for them to taste, if they ask.
  • The main competition for WF is Trader Joe’s. As a result, almost all of the groceries put out by WF’s store brand, 365, mirror TJ’s prices.
  • Feel like you’re filling up more in your WF shopping cart these days? That’s because the company has increased the size of its carts over the past three years, citing an ability to grow revenue by 40 percent.
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